ANGELA Merkel wants to see tighter lockdown measures introduced across Germany, including a curfew and a ban on public transport, according to reports.
It comes amid concerns about a new strain of the coronavirus that has caused cases to soar across the UK in recent weeks.
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The German chancellor reportedly wants to see restrictions currently in place only in some areas expanded across the whole country.
New measures could include a ban on both local and long-distance public transport as well as a curfew.
The proposals are set to be discussed at a meeting of senior officials next week, Bild reports.
The streets of German cities remain busier than they were during the initial lockdown in March.
Merkel is reportedly concerned that too many people continue to travel around the country and fail to work at home as much as they could.
The country's Ministry of Transport is now said to be assessing the likely consequences of a total lockdown and working to ensure that disruption to supply chains is minimal.
Current measures are due to end on January 31, but Merkel has reportedly told a working group of members of her Christian Democratic Union party that the country still needs "eight to 10 weeks of hard measures”.
Germany won praise for its initial handling of the pandemic, but was forced to reintroduce a partial lockdown late last year as cases rose.
The country is now seeing around 20,000 people test positive per day, and has so far recorded 45,078 deaths.
Merkel also reportedly hopes to avoid the spread of a mutant strain of the virus detected in Britain last month.
The strain is thought to be up to 70 percent more contagious than the original, and to be a contributing factor to a recent surge in cases in the UK.
Merkel has reportedly told the working group: "If we do not manage to stop [the British strain], then we will have a ten-fold incidence by Easter."
It is not currently clear how much the new strain has spread within Germany.
The German government wants to see the infection rate per 100,000 people – which currently stands at 165 – brought below 50 before the lockdown is lifted.
Markus Söder, head of state of Bavaria, has echoed Merkel's concerns, saying the country must take the "worrying" mutant strain "extremely seriously".
"The… rules that we have may be clearly too few," he said, adding that the variant could "quickly jeopardise all efforts of the past few weeks".
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